The Bright Side

To look on the bright side means that I’m covered in red confetti.  Maybe they got here that time we peered out the window, waiting for an old friend to return.  Once we saw her we all shouted, LAAAUUUREEELLLL!, followed by the pop of a confetti cannon.  She stood there on the street and looked up at us, our heads squished out the tiny box dividing the fresh air from the stale.  Tiny specks of colourful paper floated their way down out of the window and sprinkled all around her.  Her face was a smile and she reached up to try and grab some of the falling colour.  The grey sidewalk, once dull, now coated with red, green, blue, yellow, orange, a plethora of colour, like the ball pits we used to play in as kids. 

To look on the bright side means that I’m covered in polka dots.  Actually, yes, that’s about the time they began.  I was racing down the stairs, eager to get to my departure gate.  There was still plenty of time before my flight was going to take off, but the sooner I’d be at my gate, the closer I’d be to New York, a city I dreamt of visiting ever since I opened up that ballet magazine.  I was probably nine, sitting in my pink tights, pink leotard and pink ballet slippers.  I am going to be a professional ballerina when I grow up, and I am going to dance in New York, I had declared to my mother.  As I approached my gate, a stillness filled the air.  Not the gentle stillness you may feel after a good thunderstorm, the stillness you feel when you walk straight into a brick wall.  Bodies rugged on almost every seat, newspapers opened, black coats hanging dead.  People yammered into their cell phones or checked the weather.  I stood there, my bright polka dot shirt, in a sea of black business suits.  New York, I thought, and I couldn’t help but smile. 

To look on the bright side means that I’m covered in stars.  After a late night at the office, I’d rush home, the air crisp and biting my skin.  A red light would slow my pace and I’d look up to the east sky and there sat Jupiter.  It was my anchor when the waves were high and life became too busy.  I’d fall asleep, tossing and turning each night around 2am.  I’d open my eyes, and through the skylight in my bedroom I’d see Saturn.  Stars would glitter around it, as if they were all having some extravagant party in the sky.  Tipping glasses, laughing.  At 5am I’d rise to get a glass of water, and as I’d stand there barely covered, barefoot in my kitchen and shivering, I’d tip my head back to drink my glass of water and there sat Mars.  It glowed through my kitchen window and pierced my eyes, sharp as the cool water running down my throat, the same way you’d step into the snow after having being fully submerged in a hot tub.  Maybe I'm getting them backwards, but those three planets spoke to me and kept me grounded.  And the stars all around, they reminded me to have fun, to live a little, that it would be okay.

If you were to look up at a tree in the middle of a hot summer afternoon and begin counting all the leaves, that’s not even the number of possibilities and opportunities there are for you to take.  You just have to take one.  Sometimes you'll pull one off the branch and you'll realize it wasn't quite how you imagined it, but that's okay, you simply have to pull another, and another, and another.  To look on the bright side means that once all those leaves have fallen off that tree and stamped your skin with autumn colours, you shovel them into a pile and jump right into them, no matter what.